Scream (2022)

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 4/5/22;
Paramount;
Horror;
Box Office $81.62 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $34.99 UHD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence, language throughout and some sexual references.
Stars Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid, Mikey Madison, Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minnette, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Sonia Ammar, Marley Shelton, Kyle Gallner, Heather Matarazzo, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich.

Rather than use the idea of a franchise relaunch to make a standalone movie unconnected to what came before, or ignoring previous sequels, creators of the new Scream explicitly wanted a continuation that honored all the previous installments.

Thus a lot of care went into crafting the fifth “Scream” film, and the result might be the best entry in the franchise since the 1996 original.

The new Scream focuses on a girl named Samantha (Melissa Barrera), a former resident of Woodsboro who is drawn back into town when her younger sister (Jenna Ortega) is attacked by the latest copycat Ghostface killer, 25 years following the events of the original film.

Sam turns out to have a secret connection to a character from the original film, and imagines communicating with that individual in a way that might drawn some comparisons with “Dexter.”

To help make sense of what’s happening, Sam and her boyfriend, Richie (Jack Quaid), recruit Dewey (David Arquette), which subsequently ends up dragging Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) back into the picture as well.

In sticking with the tradition of “Scream” movies dissecting the horror movie genre while being part of it, the new edition manages to cleverly assemble a number of homages to the original while also layering in an amusing satire of fan culture.

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The film’s home video configurations include separate DVD, Blu-ray and 4K releases that are not combo packs (ie, the 4K release does not also include a regular Blu-ray), with digital copies included with the Blu-ray and 4K versions.

Extras are included on both the 4K and Blu-ray discs, led by an enthusiastic and informative commentary with co-writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, co-directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and executive producer Chad Villella.

There are also three behind-the-scenes featurettes:  the seven-and-a-half-minute “New Blood,” about the new characters; the eight-and-a-half-minute “Bloodlines,” about connections to the earlier films; and the seven-and-a-half-minute “In the Shadow of the Master,” a tribute to the late Wes Craven, who directed the first four films.

Rounding out the extras are three minutes of some pretty good deleted scenes, and the trailer for the 1996 film.

 

The Cleansing Hour

DVD REVIEW:

RLJ/Shudder;
Horror;
$27.97 DVD;
Not rated.
Stars Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, Alix Angelis, Chris Lew Kum Hoi, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, Emma Holzer, Joanna David.

Old-school horror gets a social media update in director Damien LeVeck’s The Cleansing Hour, an effectively disturbing film about exorcisms in the age of the Internet.

The story centers on a pair of friends named Max (Ryan Guzman) and Drew (Kyle Gallner) who live-stream a series in which actual exorcisms are supposedly performed. Max serves in the role as the priest and basks in the fame of it (even touting his personal Twitter handle on air instead of the show’s), while Drew handles the behind-the-scenes duties and logistical tasks such as sending out cheap merchandise to the show’s unsuspecting fans.

The show is actually a hoax using actors and special effects, but it still has managed to attract a small audience of loyal followers.

However, Max and Drew’s plans go awry when actual supernatural forces intervene. Drew’s girlfriend Lane (Alix Angelis) is forced to step in at the last minute to play the possessed victim when the intended performer doesn’t show up. Then an actual demon possesses her and turns the show into a personal hell for Max and Drew, forcing long-buried secrets to emerge while the morbidly fascinated online audience continues to grow.

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The film uses a mix of mostly practical effects and a bit of CGI to craft some truly creepy scares and chilling death scenes, particularly when the demon immolates one of the crew members by turning his flame tattoos into actual fire.

While the film bears the look and feel of a typical exorcism movie, it offers enough interesting character work and some nice plot twists to keep it from seeming too derivative.

The film is a longer version of a story LeVeck first explored in a 2016 short film of the same name, which runs 18 minutes and is included on the DVD.

Also included is a two-and-a-half minute “On the Set” montage of footage of scenes behind filmed with no context or narration.

The film also comes with a commentary track from LeVeck and his wife Natalie, who is also one of the film’s producers, as they discuss his love of the genre and other tidbits about making the film on an indie budget. Interestingly, at one point they tease an extra of time-lapse footage of Angelis being put into demon makeup, but such a video doesn’t appear to have made its way to the DVD.

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